Ryan Morin

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This week we profile a recent publication in Blood Advances from the laboratory of
Dr. Ryan Morin (pictured) at SFU and Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

The Morin Laboratory performs cutting-edge lymphoma research by applying the latest molecular and computational methods in cancer genomics, developing and implementing highly sensitive molecular assays for monitoring circulating tumour DNA, and functionally validating our genomic findings using cell culture work and mouse xenograft models.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

This study not only uncovers mechanisms of Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) treatment resistance, but also provides insight into the importance of genetic testing for DLBCL patients and demonstrates how this could be accomplished using minimally invasive analysis of circulating tumour DNA from blood samples. Screening for mutations in key resistance genes at the time of diagnosis and throughout treatment with R-CHOP—the standard therapy for DLBCL—may help clinicians better manage treatment strategies for DLBCL patients.

What are the next steps for this research?

In this study we performed a targeted analysis of 63 genes. While we were able to identify mechanisms of treatment resistance using this approach, it is highly likely that there are more. We are now in the process of analyzing whole genomes from tumour biopsies of treatment-resistant DLBCL patients searching for additional mutations—including those in non-coding regions—that may confer treatment resistance.

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This work was supported by the Terry Fox Research Institute, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Genome Canada, Genome British Columbia, the British Columbia Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute.

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